& The Practice of Faith
The Sutra is the foundation of the practice of faith. It entails listening to the word of the Buddha, and accepting and embracing it in one's life.
Chih-I explains that there are Five Facets in the Practice of Faith, which are gleaned from The Lotus Sutra:
The Six Identities with Enlightenment explain the different levels of faith being turned into wisdom, and the Practice of Faith turning into the Practice of the Dharma:
1. Identity in Principle: Everyone has the capacity to become enlightened.
"Whether or not they are awakened to it, all living beings have the nature of enlightenment within themselves, as they are part of the spiritual reality as-it-is."
"The Buddha is innate in common people.”
2. Identity in Name: Although there is the principle, it is not recognized in daily life until one heeds the word of the Dharma. One accepts and recites the Sutra with faith.
"When one hears of the Bodhi of the One Reality, and one penetrates and reaches a thorough understanding of the names and terms, one recognizes that all things everywhere are the Buddha’s Enlightenment."
"Then they don the crown of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo and they first hear the daimoku."
3. Identity in Practice of Observation: There is true observation of the mind and spiritual insight. One accepts the Sutra in both word and deed. Talking the talk, and walking the walk.
"If one only hears the words and mouths the teachings it is like termites that chew on wood and accidently produce what look like words. These insects do not recognize whether they are words or not. Without having penetrated and reached the meaning of the words, how can there be Bodhi? It is necessary to observe mind clearly and thoroughly. Insight and the principle must correspond, practice must being the same as speech, and speech must be the same as practice. When the mind and the mouth correspond, there is the Bodhi that is the Practice of Observation."
"Then, upon hearing & believing, they cultivate the practice, which is the actual practice of the three thousand spiritual aspects in a single thought."
4. Identity to Enlightenment in Appearance: One's observation becomes more and more on target. One begins to manifest enlightenment in all the conduct of one’s daily affairs. One begins to manifest the Sutra in one's life.
With more Observation, there is more clarity (illumination). With more Calm, there is more serenity. It is like a diligent archer who, with practice, has an ever more accurate aim. There is no contradiction between one's spiritual life and one’s worldly livelihood to sustain oneself, and one’s thoughts and speculations about Bodhi are as previously taught in the Sutra."
"Confusions and obstacles are subdued."
5. Identity with Enlightenment in Increments: One own practice enters into a dynamic with the influence of others. One imparts enlightenment to others.
"Having the power of observation that is Enlightenment in Appearance, one enters into the rank of the Bodhisattvas. One begins by refuting the darkness of ignorance and seeing the spiritual nature of enlightenment. In opening up the precious treasury of the Dharma and revealing the 'absolute spiritual reality as-it-is', the darkness of ignorance is weakened and wisdom turns ever deeper."
"Influence on others arises"
6. Ultimate Identity with Enlightenment: One is a font of the Dharma, enlightening all.
"In one turn, the Universal Awakening becomes the Wonderful Awakening. The light of wisdom becomes totally full and can not be made fuller. Only the Buddha is able to penetrate this."
"The innate three-fold body of enlightenment is complete".
See also The Great Calm-Observation on the Six Identities.
Next, the Power of the Word
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